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Combining humanistic and behavioral approach into a therapy

            Humanistic therapy is defined as an insight therapy that emphasizes freedom of choice, growth of human potential, the joys of being a human being, and the importance of the patient's phenomenology. The person-centered therapy proposed by Carl Rogers (1951) is based on concepts from humanistic therapy, and it shares many concepts and values with the existential therapy. On the other hand, behavior therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses basic learning techniques to modify maladaptive behavior patterns by substituting new responses to given stimuli for undesirable ones (The American Heritage, 2000). For years, it is believed that the behavioristic and the humanistic approaches are philosophically polar opposite. However, some contemporary behavior therapists suggest that bridges can be built for allowing the possibility of a fruitful synthesis (Corey, 2001). .
             In order to develop a fruitful synthesis of the two approaches, we must first identify their basic concepts and understand well about their strengths and limitations. Therefore, in the following, I will compare and contrast the two approaches to make sure that a comprehensive understanding of them can be achieved. Five dimensions of the approaches are taken to account. They are the view of human nature, basic concepts, therapeutic goals, therapeutic techniques and therapeutic relationship. .
             Considering the view of human nature, humanistic therapists believe that people are trustworthy, self-direction and able to live effective and productive lives (Cain, 1987). They focus on the positive side of human nature and firmly believe that individual has an inherent capacity to move away from maladjustment and toward psychological health. On the contrary, the behaviorists place more emphasis on the impact of environment. The current view of behaviorists on human nature is that an individual is both the product and producer of his or her environment.

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